The 2015 NorthCoast 99 list of best places to work in Northeast Ohio was just announced a week or so ago, and Fathom is on it … for the second time. What’s special about the honor is that it comes from employee-generated ratings of workplace satisfaction. In other words, you don’t buy this award. Or get it just for being big, famous or financially impressive. And as everyone knows, being large in notoriety or revenue doesn’t necessarily translate into a healthy work climate that attracts thriving talent like swarms of Lake Erie midges in an autumnal NE Ohio evening.
You get it because enough of your employees are happy to be there and are willing to tell the world about it. Your workplace culture earns it, jury-of-your-peers style. It’s democratic.
2015 organizational growth
This award comes in the same year of a major redesign of the company website. It is also concurrent with Fathom going to the market with new offers (Salesforce consulting; services for users of Marketo) and strengthened old ones (digital advertising, creative services). As we’re upping investment in marketing automation, creative and advertising, this culture award symbolizes great news for current and future clients, of course, but also anybody interested in exercising email marketing, creative, analytics or paid media skills for a living.
One element that holds Fathom’s culture together (and is a clear dividing line in hiring, evaluations and promotions) is the company’s core values:
- Everyone a Leader
- Be the Consigliere
- Make Order from Chaos
- The Gun Will Be There
(Admittedly, despite 2 of these 4 values being direct allusions to The Godfather, I can promise you we’re not Italian mobsters, regardless of my personal Sicilian heritage.)
The core values are further articulated and manifested in what we call guiding principles, or windows into the Fathom philosophy of doing business. The principle of delivering unrecognized needs is one example, often used in the context of exceeding client expectations. The idea is that by anticipating what clients themselves might not even realize is required for growing their businesses, you make yourself (and your service) invaluable. CEO Scot Lowry likes to call these principles the “operating manual” for a smoothly run business. We’re currently in the process of officially documenting 12 of them, but most have had some part in our agency’s collective consciousness for years.